El Salvador

IOM, OAS, UNHCR Analyze Reintegration of Returnees to El Salvador

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El Salvador - Representatives from IOM, OAS, UNHCR, the Government of El Salvador and the private sector have met to discuss challenges facing the reintegration of returnees to El Salvador.

The Intersectoral Forum for the Development of Special Programs: Protection of Victims of Irregular Migration in Mesoamerica and Reinsertion of Returnees in El Salvador, organized by the El Salvador’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, concluded that returnees frequently face discrimination.

This affects their reintegration in their communities of origin and is usually associated with delinquency. However, according to government figures, in 2015, 93 percent of returnee migrants had no criminal record.

According to El Salvador’s General Directorate of Migration and Immigration (DGME), at least 52,548 Salvadoreans were returned in 2016 – some 21,340 from the United States and 31,147 from Mexico.

Salvadoran Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hugo Martínez; IOM’s Chief of Mission in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, Jorge Peraza Breedy; and the Representative of the Organization of American States (OAS) in El Salvador, Robalth Ochaeta, chaired the Forum.

“This activity is the beginning of the implementation of special programs aimed at promoting the protection and effective respect for the human rights of returnees,” said IOM’s Peraza Breedy.

The forum also included a discussion of government initiatives for victim protection, testimonies of returned irregular migrants, panels on the role of the institutional programs for the protection of migrant women, families and children; and shared responsibilities with civil society.

The event was part of the Program for the Prevention of Crimes Related to Irregular Migration in Mesoamerica, implemented by IOM, UNHCR, and OAS, with funding from the European Union.

“The program promotes the formulation and implementation of policies for protecting migrants’ human rights, in particular vulnerable groups such as unaccompanied children, adolescents, women, LGBTI groups, indigenous people and people with disabilities,” Peraza Breedy noted.

During the Forum, IOM recognized the improvements El Salvador has made in assisting returnees and reiterated its commitment to support government efforts to reintegrate them to enable them to again be part of the social, cultural, economic and political life of their communities.

For further information, please contact Jorge Gallo at the IOM Regional Office in Costa Rica, Tel. +506 2212 5352, Email: jgallo@iom.int